Yesterday, the CBS News web site ran a five-paragraph story on the fact that Susan Dey was absent from a Partridge Family reunion:
The Partridge Family cast was one member short when they reunited on television Tuesday morning.
The cast of the popular '70s sitcom appeared on the Today Show as part of their "Great TV Families Reunited" series, but actress Susan Dey, who played eldest daughter Laurie Partridge, was not in attendance.
Danny Bonaduce, who in the years after his child stardom faced drug addiction and legal troubles, was present for the reunion.
The show, which centered around a widow and her five children who embark on a music career, aired from 1970-1974.
A similar absence occurred Monday morning, when the cast of Eight is Enough reunited on the morning program minus actor Adam Rich. The actor endured many personal issues after his time on the show, including arrests and substance abuse.
This story, which contains no quotes and looks to have been written in about five minutes, was published solely for one reason: Dey was a volcanic search term on Google Trends yesterday. People wanted to know why Dey was absent, so they looked on Google.
CBS is promoting a rival network with the story and even links to video on NBC's web site.
There are a lot of online news sites and blogs that use Google Trends as their assignment desk, churning out poorly researched stories quickly to capitalize on a hot news search term. Weak-ass Dey stories were filed by such august journalistic enterprises as Puggal, Associated Content and Thaindian News.
So the network of Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow is in good company.